The Other Seas 

One day, a mapmaker realized that one of his maps had transformed. Where he had painted a continent, a sea began to bleed through from below, although he did not recall painting over anything other than blank paper to begin with. Scandalized, he repainted the newly discovered continent and left the map out to dry. While it was drying, behold, another map was similarly transfigured. This time, an ocean was marred with golden oarfish and black dragons bleeding through the pale blue waves. Infuriated, the cartographer set to work on this new map, washing away every dragon, kraken and oarfish in thick strokes of a deeper blue. When he was finished painting, he left it out to dry, only to discover that the continent he had repainted earlier was already fading, its long discredited sea from obsolete voyages showing through. One by one, he inspected all the maps, and every map showed signs of damage. Clouds, winds, ghosts, angels, demons, saints, mountains, oarfish, trees and rivers, continents and oceans, strange letters from forgotten alphabets and symbols from discardes sciences bled through the new maps. Frantic, the mapmaker spent days trying to repair them, but the enchantment always returned. The mapmaker gathered all the maps and scrolls together and brought them down to the beach to burn them. For one night, at least, the bonfire would be a light for lost sailors, and the maps would not have been made in vain. All night, the maps burned, but at times he thought he saw a golden oarfish or black dragon in the flames, swimming in the blue waves of nonexistent, other seas. In the morning, staring through the smoke, he saw that a chain of gray islands had blossomed off the coast. 

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